Who is Andrew Yang? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate
By Sophie Austin June 14, 2019

 

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s signature policy idea is to give every American a guaranteed $1,000 a month. Formally, the policy is a universal basic income, but Yang calls it the "Freedom Dividend," and it has distinguished him as a candidate who was recently unknown in the political sphere.

Yang introduced the "Freedom Dividend" when he announced his candidacy to the New York Times in 2018. "I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue," he said.

An entrepreneur and a son of Taiwanese immigrants, Yang says he grew up believing in the American Dream.

Some critics say Yang’s plan for a universal basic income will cost too much. Fox News host Laura Ingraham said the policy could disincentivize a diligent work ethic. Others criticize Yang’s lack of political experience, because he’s never held public office.

Yang also wants to address the threat of artificial intelligence on jobs and push the nation toward a "human-centered capitalism" that prioritizes people over money.  

Yang, originally from upstate New York, studied economics at Brown University and law at the Columbia Law School before establishing himself as an entrepreneur. In 2011, he founded Venture for America, a company that offers entrepreneurial fellowships to college graduates. Yang served as CEO of the company before stepping down in 2017.

Name: Andrew Yang

Current occupation: Entrepreneur

Party: Democratic

Federal offices: None.

State and local offices: None.

Private sector work: Venture for America CEO, Manhattan Prep GMAT CEO

Military: None.

Books authored/co-authored: "The War on Normal People," 2018; "Smart People Should Build Things," 2014.

Education: B.A., Brown University, 1996; J.D. Columbia Law School, 1999.

Birth date: January 13, 1975.

Personal life: Yang has two children with his wife Evelyn.

Religion: Christian

Top issues: Universal basic income, "human-centered capitalism."

Endorsements: No major endorsements.

Major donors: Yang has promised to receive no corporate PAC donations.

Miscellaneous: Yang’s supporters refer to themselves on social media and in campaign posters as the "Yang Gang."

Other coverage: Interview on "The Ingraham Angle," May 2019;  CNN Town hall, April 2019; Interview with The Root, April 2019; New York Times profile, February 2018; PolitiFact file

Campaign website: https://www.yang2020.com

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Our Sources

Council on Foreign Relations, Campaign 2020: Andrew Yang, Democratic Presidential Candidate, Feb. 12, 2019

Yang2020, The Freedom Dividend, accessed May 31, 2019

The New York Times, His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming, Feb. 10, 2018

Yang2020, Andrew’s Story, accessed May 31, 2019

YouTube, Andrew Yang goes one-on-one with Laura Ingraham, May 24, 2019

Yang2020, Human-Centered Capitalism, accessed May 31, 2019

Venture for America, Andrew Yang Steps Down From Venture for America Board of Directors, accessed May 31, 2019

CNN, CNN town halls with Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, April 14, 2019

YouTube, Andrew Yang’s Plan For Black America, April 3, 2019

PolitiFact, Andrew Yang’s file, accessed May 31, 2019

Who is Andrew Yang? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate